Cold weather doesn't have to go hand in hand with illness. Here are some simple things you can do to help yourself stay well this winter.
To help you understand the options available to you we've put together a step by step guide to how to manage your health and get the most out of NHS services, as well as some local links to services in your area. If you're in doubt about which service is best for you, visit your local pharmacy or call 111. View the Stay Well in Wolverhampton booklet here.
Last year our Stay Well team went out and about around the city advising local people on how to Stay Well. Here are a few pictures.
Eat well – food gives you energy, which helps to keep you warm. So, try to have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day. Keep warm – this may help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia.
Get a flu jab – flu vaccination is offered free of charge to people who are at risk, pregnant women, carers and some young children to ensure that they are protected against catching flu and developing serious complications. Free flu vaccinations are available at your GP surgery or at many local Pharmacies across the city.
Keep warm - Cold homes have a significant impact on people's health. One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm. Keeping warm over the winter months can help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.
The City of Wolverhampton Council offers a scheme called Affordable Warmth. You may qualify for a free new heating system from the council if:
- You have a health problem that is related to living in a cold or damp property
- You are a home owner
- You have lived in your property for at least 12 months
- Your property is Council Tax band A, B or C
- You are claiming an income related or disability benefit such as Guaranteed Pension Credit or Disability Living Allowance
If you meet all the above criteria you may be eligible for a free boiler and heating system up to the value of £5,000. Equally you could be provided with a free repair or upgrade to your existing system if that is all you require. You will not have to pay this money back - it is completely free.
This scheme is offered by the City of Wolverhampton Council. Our friendly team at the council can check if you qualify. They will then helpfully take you through the easy process step-by-step. Call us today to find out if you are eligible 01902 551155.
Not for you, but know someone who could benefit? Please pass on our number.
Our 12 Days of Winter animation provides a fun way of accessing information about how to stay well in the cold weather such as keeping in control of any long term conditions, remembering repeat prescriptions and getting the flu jab. The animation offers information about the range of health services such as NHS 111, local pharmacy and how to eat healthily in the winter months.
Common winter illnesses
- Colds – to ease the symptoms of a cold, drink plenty of fluids and try to rest. Steam inhalation and vapour rubs can also help. Prevent colds from spreading by washing your hands thoroughly, cleaning surfaces regularly and always sneeze and cough into tissues, throwing them away after use.
Find out more about treating colds
- Sore Throats - a sore throat is almost always caused by a viral infection such as a cold. Try not to eat or drink anything that’s too hot, as this could further irritate your throat; cool or warm drinks and cool, soft foods should go down easier.
Find out more about treating sore throats
- Asthma – a range of weather-related triggers can set off asthma symptoms, including cold air. Covering your nose and mouth with a warm scarf when you’re out can help.
Find out more about treating asthma
- Norovirus – this is also known as the winter vomiting bug, although it can cause diarrhoea too. The main thing to do to is drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. You can also take paracetamol for any aches, pains or fever.
Find out more about treating norovirus
- Flu – if you’re 65 or over, have a long-term health condition such as diabetes or kidney disease, flu can be life-threatening, so it’s important to seek help early. However, if you’re generally fit and healthy, the best treatment is to rest, stay warm and drink plenty of water.Find out more about treating flu
Ask your pharmacist - Pharmacists are expert in many aspects of healthcare and can offer advice on a wide range of long-term conditions and common illnesses such as coughs, colds and stomach upsets. You don’t need an appointment.
See your family doctor - GPs assess, treat and manage a whole range of health problems. They also provide health education, give vaccinations and carry out simple surgical procedures. Your GP will arrange a referral to a hospital specialist should you need it. GPs also offer an online service for you to book a GP appointment, order repeat prescriptions, and to access your GP records (summary information only).appointment and many have private consultation areas, so they are a good first port of call. Your pharmacist will say if you need further medical attention.
Visit an urgent care service - Visit a walk-in centre, minor injuries unit or urgent care centre if you have a minor illness or injury (infections, vomiting and stomach aches) and it can't wait until your GP surgery is open. These urgent care services are often managed by nurses and some also have doctors. You don't need an appointment and they are open outside office hours.
Accident and Emergency - A&E departments provide vital care for life-threatening emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, suspected heart attacks, breathing difficulties, or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. If you’re not sure it’s an emergency, call 111 for advice.
For more information about staying well this Winter visit www.nhs.uk/staywell
Play Your Care Right
What could help with choosing which service you need to access is Play Your Care Right, the fun game show designed to help the people of Wolverhampton get the right care at the right time this winter.
Feeling ill can get you in a spin sometimes by not knowing where to go for hlep. Phoning 111, going to your pharmacy or GP or attendin A&E; these are all great services but it ca be difficult to know which one is the correct one to go for different illnesses. By playing the Play Your Care Right game and video you can learn what to do in various different situations, ranging from a sprained ankle to severe chest pain, and even head lice.